Interviewer: Is it always the right thing to do to answer police questions? Why is it a bad idea to do that?
Paul Tafelski: In many situations, if the cops are calling you for information, they might not have quite everything they need to prove their case. By not answering those questions, they may not be able to prosecute you or they may not be able to prosecute you for the most serious charge. So it’s always better, even if you want to admit responsibility and take responsibility- it’s always the smarter thing to do to talk to your lawyer first, so that you can try to make sure that you at least protect yourself as much as possible.
If a Potential Client Provides Relevant Information to A Competent Attorney Then the Attorney Can Provide a Fairly Accurate Prediction About The Outcome
Interviewer: Are theft charges so unpredictable, or can I give you a call and then you can give me an idea of how the case might play out?
Paul Tafelski: If somebody calls us with a situation, sometimes if it’s still on an investigation phase and they haven’t been charged, it’s harder to predict but usually in those circumstances, we might be able to help them in dealing with the case and trying to either avoid the charges altogether or work something out where it’ll be a lesser charge that they face. I’d say the majority of the time when the person calls us involving some type of theft crime, if they have a pretty good idea of what information the police have, then we can give them a pretty good idea of what we expect to happen.
Common Scenarios Resulting In Theft Charges in the State of Michigan
Interviewer: Is there a common scenario or an excuse or a story that you frequently hear about when it comes to theft?
Paul Tafelski: I’d say the most common thing that we hear from people who are actually guilty is that they just don’t know why they did it. They don’t know why and that is not something that they normally do and that they’re embarrassed. Every case is different but the most common thing that we hear is probably that.
Teenagers are Often Charged with Shoplifting Offenses in Michigan
Interviewer: If someone had a 16-year old son or a daughter that had stolen something, do you ever deal with the parents in that kind of scenario?
Paul Tafelski: Yes. Many times I work with parents when it’s younger people involved in stealing, especially if it’s something more than just one isolated incident. There are drug problems that are related to the stealing and the parent is desperate because their son or daughter is clearly heading down the wrong road, and may be into some serious trouble already. Many times the parent comes to me looking to find help for their son or daughter. We’ve got a lot of experience dealing with those kind of situations; in trying to clean up the mess and get things turned around so that they’re heading towards help and rehabilitation rather than punishment and just being thrown into the scrap because they are young kids.
In Michigan Individuals Under 17 Years of Age are Tried in Juvenile Court
They do a lot of stupid things and it’s not really fair to treat them the same way as you treat a 35-year old because their brains aren’t even fully developed yet. They don’t even know what they don’t know and that’s all part of the process in dealing with them. Part of our experience is understanding how the court is going to look differently upon young offenders compared to older offenders. So, yes, we deal with parents and we deal with the kids themselves but if they’re under 17, in Michigan, they’re considered juvenile and then we end up in a juvenile court which of course we can deal with as well. But 17 or older is considered an adult in Michigan.